Mixology doesn’t have to mean difficult. With a small amount of effort and a few fresh ingredients, it’s easy to impress guests with delicious cocktail creations at home.

Recipes by Kirstin Plate; Illustrations by Emma Trithart; Tribune Content Solutions


A salted rim is a bright and colorful way to add your personal touch to cocktails. It’s quick and doesn’t require anything you don’t already have in your spice cabinet. For beer lovers, the classic Michelada is a great way to cool down on a hot afternoon. The sweet and spicy salted rim perfectly complements a chilled, savory beer cocktail.

Michelada — Serves 1

Salted Rim
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika

In a shallow bowl, mix spices till evenly combined. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your pint glass so the spice mixture has something to stick to. Then gently roll the rim of the pint glass in the spice mixture.

Now you’re ready to make Micheladas. This recipe is for one serving. So just multiply by the number of servings you need, line up your salt-rimmed glasses and you’re off.


3-5 ice cubes
1 lime wedge
3 shakes of hot sauce like Tapatio or Tabasco
3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
1 shot of tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix
1 beer, preferably Negra Modelo or Modelo Especial

Squeeze lime wedge into glass, add sauces and tomato juice, then pour beer over the mixer ingredients. Pour slowly so it doesn’t get too foamy. Take a long spoon and give the drink a little swizzle so the flavors are evenly mixed together. If you’d like — trust us you will — serve with a shot of tequila on the side.


Fresh fruit is one of the best parts of summer. But sometimes it’s hard to keep up when fruits spoil quickly. Prolong the life of that just-about-to-go-bad pint of berries or leftover watermelon by throwing it into the freezer to use later in blended drinks. Then, when it’s too hot outside to even move and you’re craving something sweet and cold, use that fruit in white wine slushies. They are a great way to quickly chill out.

White Wine Slushies — Serves 2

1 ½ cups Riesling or sweet white wine
8 frozen strawberries, watermelon chunks or peaches
1 tbsp powdered sugar, more to taste

Blend in blender and serve immediately.


Muddling is the process of releasing the flavors of herbs and fruit through light mashing with a blunt instrument. If you don’t want to buy another kitchen gadget, use the base of a wooden spoon or some other unvarnished wood kitchen implement. Break up the ingredients till they fall apart into little pieces — but not so much that you get a paste or super tiny pieces, just until the ingredients become fragrant. Muddling glass after glass can get annoying, so make a whole pitcher if you’d rather do just one big batch and then relax.

Blueberry Mojitos by the Pitcher — Serves 4 to 6

2 cups blueberries
40 mint leaves (about one solid handful)
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
8 shots vodka
½ cup agave nectar
1 ½ cups club soda

Put blueberries, mint and lime juice in pitcher and gently muddle. (If you want to make this ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, then do the remaining steps when you’re ready to serve.) Add vodka and agave. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Top with the club soda and give it one last stir so the pitcher is well mixed. Pour into glasses packed full with ice, throw in a straw and enjoy.